A team from the USA examined the importance of astroviruses as a cause of acute diarrhea in hospitalized children less than 10 years old.
Stool samples from the children were screened by electron microscopy, and were tested for astrovirus, rotavirus, and enteric adenovirus by EIA.
During the 5-year study, 14.6% of hospitalized children were found to have diarrhea.
The researchers found that astroviruses were second only to rotaviruses as etiologic agents of both community-acquired and nosocomial diarrhea.
Community-acquired astrovirus infection occurred in 6.8% of patients, and nosocomial disease occurred in 16.2%.
|Occurrence of astrovirus infection in children:
Nosocomial disease: 16.2%|
|Journal of Infectious Diseases|
Most cases occurred from March through June, and astrovirus type 1 was the most common.
The symptoms of astrovirus-infected children were similar to those of children with rotavirus infection. However, astrovirus-infected children had a lower median age, less dehydration, and lower symptom severity scores. They were also less likely to have been admitted for gastroenteritis than were children with rotavirus.
Penelope H. Dennehy, of the Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School, Providence, concluded on behalf of her coworkers, 'Astrovirus, for which only rehydration therapy is required, should be considered as another common diarrheal pathogen in children less than 2 years old.'